Sydney - Australia have called up Reds hooker Saia Faingaa to their squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship after Tolu Latu broke his arm on the weekend to further deplete their options in the middle of the frontrow.
Latu suffered the injury playing club rugby in Sydney and joins first-choice hooker Stephen Moore and backup Tatafu Polota-Nau nursing problems on the sidelines for Saturday's opener against New Zealand in Sydney.
Faingaa, 27, has won 29 caps for Australia but started only seven times and joins the inexperienced Nathan Charles of the Force and Reds team-mate James Hanson as the hookers vying for a role on Saturday.
Hanson made his only Test appearance against the All Blacks as a replacement in 2012, while Charles made his debut off the bench in the series win over France earlier this year.
"It's not like you're pulling guys that haven't played at Super Rugby level and guys like Hanson and Charles played massive amounts of games this year and credit to them they've played really well," Australia prop Sekope Kepu said on Monday.
"It's their chances to step up to the plate," he said, before acknowledging the All Blacks would likely target the lack of experience in the Wallabies front row.
"It's all about challenges and I'm sure the pack is up for this weekend. We're pretty excited."